There is clear evidence that Tribunal claims dropped significantly following the introduction of fees in July 2013. Despite recent reports that there are signs that employees are starting to lodge claims again, an urgent review of the fees regime is now required.
Whilst there may have been a very small upward increase in the claims in the last 12 months, this is a result of the large numbers of claims that were submitted for holiday pay following a British Gas worker’s case heard in the European Court of Justice, which suggested that holiday pay should be calculated taking into account overtime and commission.
The ruling was all over the news. The high-profile nature of this ruling led to an increase in the number of holiday pay disputes. Employees from road maintenance company Bear Scotland, engineering firm Amec and industrial services group Hertel all launched Employment Tribunal claims.
The introduction of mandatory ACAS Early Conciliation on 6th April 2014 is also likely to have impacted on when claims were brought as the effect of the process is to stay the limitation period for a short period, allowing claims to be commenced a little later than they would have commenced otherwise.
However, it remains evident that claims have dropped and there is no serious sign of any increase in the number of Employment Tribunal claims being started.
Kiran Daurka, Employment Solicitor at Slater and Gordon Lawyers UK, said, “A review of the Employment Tribunal fees regime is needed as soon as possible. Employees should have the right to bring a claim to the Employment Tribunal if they have been treated unfairly and the fees are a barrier that makes some UK workers unable to do so.
“Whilst some groups might see a fall in the Tribunal claims to be a successful outcome of the fees regime, it is clear that worthy and meritorious claims are not being pursued. The fees are a way of preventing access to justice.”
For more information see our blog: Why do People make Employment Tribunal Claims?